Syria: Emergency Preparedness & Response

Syria: Emergency Preparedness & Response

Nine years after it began, the war in Syria is far from over. The numbers are frankly staggering: an estimated 11.1 million people are in need of assistance, more than half of all people in Syria are food insecure, 2.1 million children are out of school, and over 50% of basic infrastructure in the country is non-operational or completely destroyed. The fact that 1.2 million people are now living in hard-to-reach areas, combined with the continued armed clashes in many areas, complicates the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The severity of needs is especially high in Aleppo, Idlib, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Deir-ez-Zor and Raqqa governorates. At the same time, the ongoing conflict is fuelling displacement on a scale rarely seen in human history: 6.1 million people are currently estimated to be internally displaced, many for the second or third time. These multiple displacements, compounded by difficulties finding work and widespread physical destruction, have exhausted people’s capacity to cope with the prolonged conflict.

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Ongoing aid

Livelihoods & Agriculture

Livelihoods & Agriculture

In the areas where PIN operates, the war has disrupted most forms of employment, with factories and other major employers forced to close. In response, People in Need has established a set of Technical Vocational Education and Training centres, staffed by skilled trainers from the local community. We provide students with transport and all the materials to undertake their training, along with equipment to sustain their new livelihood after graduation. Students receive both technical and business training, and the most successful and motivated graduates are awarded grants to launch their own small businesses.

Agricultural production in Syria has also plummeted since the start of the conflict, driving up prices for vulnerable families. Since 2014, People in Need has been training small farmers and providing them with vouchers to purchase much-needed seeds, fertilizers and tools.

Our cash-for-work activities provide short-term, temporary employment to vulnerable families to earn money through debris collection, street rehabilitation, repairing irrigation canals and schools, sowing school uniforms, and restoring water and power networks. This activity provides households a reliable income to meet their own household needs, promoting resilience and dignity whilst supporting communities and stimulating local markets.
  • 671 people received intensive training at our vocational centres in 2019
  • 8,459 farmers received vouchers for seeds and tools in 2019
  • In 2019 28,000 people were supported through our cash-for-work programme
WASH  - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

WASH - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Water and sanitation infrastructures in Syria have been heavily impacted as a result of the war. Over one third of people have no access to drinking water, while electricity is either totally or partly unavailable in most places. Waste collection systems have collapsed in many areas, which threatens to contaminate sources of drinking water and dramatically increases the risk of outbreaks of disease like cholera and leishmaniasis.

Since 2013, People in Need has helped to restore public water wells and networks, construct water points and elevated water tanks, rehabilitate and extend sewage systems, build landfills, provide generators and renovate or install toilets and showers in camps and schools. We work with local authorities and contractors to carry out this work and improve the management of basic water, sanitation and hygiene services. Our cash-for-work programmes employ people to clear debris, renovate water networks and collect waste, thereby supporting rehabilitation efforts while at the same time offering vulnerable families a dignified way to earn an income.
  • In 2019, 105,036 people benefited from improved access to water as a result of our programmes
  • In 2019, 395,321 individuals benefited from improved sanitation or waste removal services creating a healthier, safer living environment for them
Education and Psychosocial Support

Education and Psychosocial Support

Since 2011, 8 million children have been affected by the war in Syria. Death, injury and displacement have caused significant disruption, both to the families who have fled and the host communities who have taken them in. The prolonged and violent nature of the conflict means that many children have experienced some degree of trauma.

2 million children in Syria -over one third of Syria’s child population- are currently not in school. The challenges are enormous: a staggering 40% of school infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed by now. In 2019 alone, according to UNICEF, more than 74 schools in Syria were attacked. And in that same year, at least three children were killed every day.

People in Need has been providing educational support in Syria since 2013. Working in partnership with schools, we provide a holistic support package that includes funds to rehabilitate damaged buildings, specialized training for educational staff, teacher kits, fuel for heating, water, and monthly staff incentives. We also provide schoolbags and stationary for students, and furniture such as desks, tables and whiteboards. We currently reach 27,372 pupils between the ages of 5 and 17 to access safe quality learning opportunities.

PIN also provides basic psychosocial support (PSS) for children by organising various creative workshops and games led by trained staff. The time spent with children as part of these extracurricular activities helps them cope with the traumatic events that have occurred their lives. For children living in temporary camps without any way to access formal education, PIN opened temporary learning centres. We also run remedial classes and compensatory courses to help children catch up on years of lost education, and we hold open days with the aim of attracting more children into schools.

In addition, parents of children not attending school have the opportunity to earn an income through PIN’s “Cash for Work” programme. This improves household budgets so that parents can afford to send their children to school and, most importantly, ensure children are not compelled to work.

PIN supports child-friendly spaces, that function as a safe, fun and inclusive space for children to learn, play, socialise, and develop. These centres are established in internally displaced camps, and provide basic psychosocial support to improve the well-being of children by organising various PSS activities as well as structured recreational activities focusing on creativity, mobility and theatre led by educated and trained staff. These activities are prepared by assistants in close collaboration with the facilitators themselves, which teach children how to develop trust, build self-confidence, deal with emotions and situations, develop interpersonal skills, create awareness on topics present in their households/families and daily lives. Furthermore, the child-friendly spaces function as a platform with easy access for sectors and activities (WASH, health, nutrition) and for trained staff to identify children with protection concerns to be referred for specialized assistance if needed.
After COVID-19 global pandemic was declared in March 2020, PIN timely worked with teachers and facilitators in northern Syria to develop a distant learning methodology that ensured continued education while the schools and learning centres were closed.
Food security

Food security

Millions of people in Syria are currently in need of food aid, with millions more in danger of joining them. In more stable, peaceful areas, People in Need provides monthly food vouchers or cash grants that can be used in a range of local shops. By allowing people to choose and cook their own meals, this approach helps restore a crucial sense of dignity, while also stimulating the local economy and supporting the farmers who supply fruits, vegetables, meat or eggs to our partner shops. In areas with less stable markets, we provide this monthly food assistance in the form of in-kind goods, which consist of staple foods such as flour, rice, bulgur, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans.

We also support hundreds of selected bakeries each month, providing thousands of families with access to more affordable bread. 
  • Each month 3,200 families receive food parcels
  • Each month 8,500 families receive monthly food vouchers       
  • In 2019, more than 4 million subsidised bread packs were baked, reaching 144,000 individuals
Read more about food crisis in Syria
Non-food items & Shelter

Non-food items & Shelter

Widespread and ongoing displacement means that thousands of families are still forced to leave their homes every day, often living in tents and abandoned or damaged buildings.  To meet these needs, PIN is providing families with support to construct temporary setter, such as the provision of tents or materials, such as tarps, wood, nails, rope to which reconstruct basic structures, or through repairing damaged homes to rehabilitate kitchens, bathrooms, and basic infrastructure that are destroyed to ensure a safe living space for families to return to their homes damaged by the conflict. PIN designs the response based on the needs of each location, taking into consideration of the level of damage and specific needs of vulnerable households – providing assistance both in camps as well as in urban areas to improving protection from harsh weather, provide a self of security and privacy, and ensure access to kitchen and sanitation facilities. In addition, PIN also repairs crucial community infrastructures such as landfills and health clinics.

Additionally, we distribute essential items to the most vulnerable families, especially those who have been recently displaced to camps or informal settlements due to the conflict. For these families, who are living under very severe conditions and with few belongings of their own, PIN provides essential items like kitchen kits providing all the basic items required for cooking, mattresses, blankets, clothes, and hygiene kits.  To help survive the bitter cold winter months, we also distribute heaters and cash grants for fuel.
  • 72, 809 people received assistance to help prepare for the winter of 2019/2020
  • 15,888 households supplied with non-food items such as mattresses, blankets, clothes, and kitchen items
  • 13,639 households received assistance to ensure adequate shelter, through the provision of tents and household rehabilitation
  • 60,000 individuals benefited from public infrastructure rehabilitation, such as health clinics, schools, markets
 


 
Emergency response

Emergency response

Every day, thousands of Syrians are forced to flee their homes because of the war, with most only taking with them whatever they can carry. In these most urgent of cases, our emergency “ready-to-eat” rations are often the very first assistance families receive. Each kit is packed with enough food to sustain an average family for five days, and all the contents can be eaten without being cooked. We also provide emergency hygiene kits to help families stay clean and healthy in the immediate aftermath of an upheaval. Cash grants are often supplied after this, to help families in distress continue to meet their immediate needs.
  • In 2019, we provided a monthly average of 5,000 ready-to-eat rations (RTERs) or food kits for families in the immediate aftermath of displacement or other crises 
  • 92,600 displaced people received a hygiene kit from PIN in 2019, containing essentials such as soap, towels, dishwashing liquid, jerry cans, and buckets, thus giving people the tools to improve their own hygiene and safety.
  • In 2019, 76,856 individuals benefited from emergency once-off cash grants to assist highly vulnerable people to buy food, water and other essential items
Take a look inside our emergency aid response in Syria 

How else we help